The need for consciousness in a floundering world.

by David Truman

Click here for a Quick Key (abbreviated version) of this article.

"Unconditional love" seems to be a buzz phrase in the global spiritual community. Everywhere you turn, people are talking about it. But what is unconditional love, really? Sadly, it has been deeply misunderstood.

According to the popular view, unconditional love means to accept people "just as they are" -- with all their flaws, addictions, and bad habits -- and not complain or correct. But is this really unconditional love? -- "I will support you wholeheartedly while you mistreat your spouse to the point of divorce. I will bite my tongue while you drink your way into the gutter." I'm sure you can see the problem with that: it's not really loving. It's collusion. It's killing people with "kindness."

The common misconception about unconditional love is supported by another misconception, about the meaning of acceptance. Let's say a woman loves a man, but he acts like a coarse brute most of the time. When she complains about his behavior, he responds with this defense: "Why can't you just accept me as I am?" He believes, wrongly, that any critique or "judgment" is a total failure of acceptance.

The truth is, she does accept him as he is. She knows he's a sensitive, beautiful heart, who actually dislikes and feels guilty for the way he's acting. She knows that if he would just be true to himself, he would act different -- but he doesn't know that. He thinks his brutish ways are who he is.

So, her criticisms aren't because she fails to love him "as he is." She does love him as he is -- the real him, but she doesn't love who he's not -- his false persona and bad habits.

Ego's idea of loving a person "as they are" is to love their affliction, their addiction, their faults. You must have a blanket acceptance of all things as good -- yes, even things that hurt people -- or else "you don't love me."

In order to rationalize the acceptance of aberrant behavior and thought, today's egoic philosophers and teachers have created the idea, "It's all good."

"I celebrate your beauty, your wisdom, your foolishness, your destructiveness, and your shortsightedness."

-- an anonymous philosopher

That is false.

So, what is unconditional love, really?

In truth, neither true love nor true acceptance requires that we accept evil. It requires that we look beyond evil, yes -- and that we love a person despite their faults. But it's not truly loving to accept a person's negative self-views as who they are, or to be okay with their bad behavior. Heaven forbid!

Love the sinner, hate the sin -- that's more like it. After all, if the truth be told:

NO ONE loves brutishness, or carelessness of any kind.

NO ONE loves social dysfunction, neurosis, moodiness, etc.

NO ONE loves bad habits that ruin lives, and prevent people from realizing who they are.


NO ONE -- not even Jesus, or the Buddha -- can love the false persona, the negative self-image. It is impossible, actually. You would have to be completely insane to love it. Because it's not lovable, and it is not TRUE.

To love a person truly is to love their real self, and not their ego habits or their false persona. Their bad habits are not who they really are -- even if they think that's who they are.

The problem with unconditional denial

Honesty is the heresy of the modern age. Honest critical feedback is absolutely wrong; it is "judgmental." Therefore, one should never speak out against destructive choices, patterns, or processes. It's politically incorrect. That's the prevailing view. Parents, school teachers, friends, lovers, therapists, support group leaders, ministers, gurus -- they're all on the program: accept, and don't criticize.

But all these "unconditional lovers" are helping create a world of unhappy, lonely, spiritually unfulfilled people. Living without honest feedback and moral discernment is spiritually dangerous. It permits a person to develop in directions that are self-destructive.

The popular, cowardly way is to approve of every bad choice as being "their path" or "their truth." "It's right for him," they say. But think about it: that means mass murder was right for Hitler; serial killing was right for the Boston strangler. These things are all "right," you just need to be "cosmic" enough to see it!

Likewise, according to the it's-right-for-you school of thought: if your sister becomes a heroin addict, that choice must be "right for her." And you have to support her in it, because you "love her unconditionally." In that case, a tragedy has been supported: one more self-destructive person has been aided in living a life of pain and suffering. Is that what we need: one more heroin addict who can do no wrong, because there's "no such thing"? Please!

With such twisted notions of "unconditional love and acceptance," humanity has paved the way for their loved ones to live hellish, destitute, unfulfilling lives. The upcoming generation is a perfect example of what happens when we fail to criticize. For lack of adequate steering and discipline, we've raised a generation of emotionally and practically dysfunctional people. Captains of industry, like Chrysler Corporation's Lee Iacocca and Microsoft's Bill Gates, heeding the horror stories from their human resources managers, have issued this impassioned warning: The young people growing up in America are unemployable! They are emotional and intellectual cripples in the workplace. Almost all of them are so egotistical they can't cooperate with their fellow workers, they lack a decent work ethic; and they can't handle correction. Give them any criticism or correction, and they'll pitch a fit.

Friends, these are people raised on "unconditional love." Here's how it's done:

A schoolboy comes home complaining that the teacher punished him for not doing his homework. His mother exclaims: "YOU? You can do no wrong. How dare he punish you? Your teacher is unfair and mean! You poor thing!"

She thinks she's protecting her child's self-esteem. In fact, she is setting him up for terrible humiliations later in life. When he finally leaves home, he will be almost illiterate, incapable of learning, and socially dysfunctional.

A spoiled child can't have a decent relationship, because he thinks he's always right, and he believes that all criticism of him is mean. Relationships are practically out of the question for him, because there's no mate who can be consistently dishonest with him, consistently collusive. So he can't be married -- at least, not happily -- and he can barely have friends.

It's not loving to lock a kid out of human and emotional fulfillment in this lifetime. It's not loving to lock him out of viable relationships, responsible commitment, and moral rightness. True compassion would give him the discipline, criticism, and steering needed to be capable of right livelihood and fulfilling intimacy. And if he doesn't get that, he'll have to pay for his childhood credit line of collusive support with an adult life of emotional and physical deprivation. All because no one would tell him the truth.

Love is not collusion. Truth be told, it is due to excessive self-protective interest, not "unconditional love" that people fail to offer needed feedback and course correction to their friends, children, mates, etc.

Effective support is not always the easiest thing to offer. It takes courage to offer discipline and correction, especially in this day and age, because it is not generally popular, or welcome.

Daddy is out

So now, we have a world full of weak, egotistical people. They fear real authority in any form, and revile any source of critical feedback. Surely you have noticed a strong patricidal impulse among people today [patricide: to kill the father]: "Every form of authority is bad. They should all let me be!" People are really trying to eliminate from their lives the course-corrective impulse.

And people don't just rebel against the usual authority figures: parents, teachers, bosses, etc. They're out to kill the father in one another, too. In the usual friendship or couple, if either person says a critical word, the other will jump on them for being judgmental and mean. There goes honest feedback and steering input from friends and lovers!

Patricide is all the rage

The truth is out of fashion. Consciousness is presumed to be evil. Whenever true consciousness is expressed, it will immediately be attacked, discredited, rebuffed, and nullified, with statements like these: "That is too judgmental. That is not unconditional love."

In such a world, mommy rules. She rules because there are no rules, and, there's no discipline which would enforce rules. So all the kids grow up spoiled: fat, sassy, and stupid. And regarding that tragedy, we are supposed to say, "It's all good."

The lynch mob is out after daddy.

Death to daddy, long live mommy. Mommy is love, daddy is NOT love.

Mommy rules because she gives no rules. Long live mommy!

Critique is not love. Discipline is not love. Intervention is not love. Death to daddy!

Disciplining others is mean.

Self-discipline is bad -- it's too hard.

Death to truth. There IS no truth. It's all good.

Ships without rudders are sunk

In their fervent search for unconditional approval, the unguided hordes are trying to eradicate the voices of real consciousness that could help steer the ship. People have far too much pride to accept real steering.

But here's the problem with no steering: ships without rudders are sunk. No steering means certain disaster -- unhappiness for the individual, and for the whole planet.

The signs are everywhere that rudderless living is tragic. Everywhere, you see neurotic people living their solitary lives in unquestioned fear and delusion. We have a world of people acting stupid, while no one has the courage to say anything about it. In nations, communities, churches, families, marriages -- the same wretched story.

So here's what I'm saying: Daddy come home!

May discerning consciousness live!

May it live, first and foremost, in the heart of every human being.

And may truly discerning consciousness be invited, and embraced wherever it is offered.

Daddy, come home

Mother love and father love are both needed -- that's the complete package. We need both consciousness and unconditional love, criticism and appreciation, discerning awareness and unconditional devotion. Life is not supported by just the all-approving mommy love; only slippery slopes into hellish conditions of dysfunction and pain.

Here we are, with our planet dying of selfishness and greed. There's a crying need for course correction, if life is to be rescued from the trash can. If this generation is to have a real chance at a fulfilling life, they must be retrained, raised up again. And for that to happen, they must open themselves back up to the daddy love they need -- the love that would actually take a hit for them, that would suffer the resistance, the defensiveness, the claws and the spitting -- all to save them from their own bad choices.

Daddy come home. But daddy will not live where daddy is abused, and not tolerated. You can't have a flower on a parking lot that is paved. You can't have daddy in a life that is so afraid of consciousness that it hides in the closet, and snipes at daddy when it can. If we want daddy, we need to welcome daddy, not vilify him, hate him, or crucify him.

So, next time you want to be loved, think about what love really is. Think about it holistically, and honestly. Don't think it is mere collusion, or indiscriminant approval. And next time you want to be accepted as you are, think about who you really are. Those are the kinds of discernments that need to be made. Those are the kinds of things daddy would beg you to consider, in your infinite wisdom.

article list   •   contact us   •   e-mail to a friend   •   subscribe


printable version   •   close   •   e-mail to a friend